Nashville Songwriter Series: Jaren Johnston

As the front man for the Nashville-based rock band American Bang, Jaren Johnston worked hard to get to the big time. The band was finally signed to Warner Brothers but had to wait several years for its debut album to be released, and soon after the recording hit the shelves in 2010 a reorganization at the label pretty much sent the band back to the relative obscurity it had labored in for so long. Johnston, however, has spent nearly his entire life in Nashville and is the son of a music business veteran, so, even though he didn’t want to abandon the band concept, he had a Plan B. He began to devote himself more to songwriting and his deal as a writer with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where he has been able to practice his craft and earn a living where so many others can’t. Being a rocker with a history of opening for such bands as ZZ Top and the Pretenders, Johnston had some contacts and years of songwriting development behind him, resulting in cuts by such acts as Meat Loaf (“If It Rains”), Jack’s Mannequin (“Television”), and A Thousand Horses, with the song “Suicide Eyes” on the soundtrack of the recently redone Footloose. And some of Nashville’s country artists have taken notice of Johnston as well, with such artists as Keith Urban (“You Gonna Fly”) and Sara Evans (“Anywhere”) cutting Johnston’s tunes. American Songwriter caught up with Johnston between writing appointments and rehearsals with the new band he has formed with American Bang alumni Kelby Ray and Neil Mason, The Cadillac Black. Your dad Jerry Ray Johnston is a well-known drummer in Nashville, having played for years on the Grand Ole Opry, so... Sign In to Keep Reading

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